Cats age: Needs change

Updated: Jul 31, 2020

Just like people, when cats age, their needs change, and it’s important to recognise this if you want to keep your cat in tip-top shape.

Now with my 16th birthday on the horizon, there’s no denying that I’m an old cat. I’ve got thyroid issues, I can’t jump as high as I used to, and my fur just doesn’t have the same lushness that it did when I was a kitten – but I’m still very healthy, happy and a pleasure to be around (even if I do say so myself!).

The secret to my continuing good health has been regular check-ups. Now, I’m not denying that I’ve got a bit of an advantage over most of the other moggies out there, I mean, I live in a vet clinic, surrounded by vets and nurses, so I get some pretty hands on health care when I need it.

But that’s part of the point. I’m a perfect example of how regular check-ups and preventative actions can make sure your kitty-cat stays healthy for longer.

One thing you have to remember about us cats is that we don’t like to let on when we’re in pain.

We cats come from a long line of hunters, stalking prey through the wild, often on our own. We’ve learnt not to let on when we get hurt or when we’re felling discomfort, and we’ve brought this wild trait with us all the way into your home and onto the couch.

Consequently, it can be very hard for our “owners” to tell if we’ve injured ourselves or if we’re in pain.

While there might be some signs that you could pick up if you’re watching closely and know your cat well – changes to their routines, appetites or toileting behaviour, increased thirst, neglecting grooming or even over-grooming can all indicate that there may be a problem – but you have to know your cat well and be paying attention to pick up these signs.

So what do I, as a cat myself, recommend that you humans do?

The best way to keep your kitty-cat in tip-top health is to have regular check-ups – at least once a year. In my experience vets know the physical signs to look out for, and they know the right questions to ask you, the owner, to find out if all is OK.

By being a proactive owner and organising regular check-ups you can often find and fix health issues before they develop to require expensive surgeries or procedure.

So take it from me, a 16-year-old cat still enjoying life to the fullest – the best way to keep your cat healthy is to book them an annual health check, because prevention is always better (and often cheaper) than a cure.

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